What Causes High Morning Blood Sugars
Two main culprits prompt morning highs: the dawn phenomenon and waning insulin. A third, much rarer cause, known as the Somogyi effect, may also be to blame.
The occasional morning high will have little impact on your A1C, a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time that indicates how well managed your diabetes is. But if those highs become consistent, they could push your A1C up into dangerous territory.
Why Is Sleep Important For People With Diabetes
In addition, psychological stress can increase blood sugar by 10 to 15 percent. While it wont make your go way out of kilter, it may mean that instead of your numbers being 150 mg/dL , theyre 165 mg/dL, Dr. Reddy says. What’s a healthy blood sugar level varies from person to person, but a safe range is between 80 and 130 mg/dL before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after beginning a meal, according to the American Diabetes Association .
How Do Glucose Levels Change Overnight
A persons blood sugar levels change during the night, mainly, because of two processes:
A person can identify how their glucose levels change during the night by taking various readings.
- The dawn phenomenon. Between roughly 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., blood sugar levels surge as part of the process of waking up. This causes high blood sugar levels in the morning.
- The Somogyi effect. Glucose levels drop significantly between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The body responds by releasing hormones that raise blood sugar levels again. It can release too much of these hormones, leading to high blood sugar levels in the morning.
Eating a bedtime snack can prevent blood glucose levels from dropping very low during the night and lessen the Somogyi effect.
A person can determine how their glucose levels change throughout the night by taking readings at various points, such as just before bed, between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., and again when waking up.
Understanding how the body is processing blood sugar is the first step toward picking more healthful snacks in the evening and before bed.
According to the American Diabetes Association , being overweight or having obesity increases the risk of diabetes-related complications. A variety of bedtime snacks can fit into a balanced, healthful diet.
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How Much Sleep Should I Get To Be Metabolically Healthy
Even intermittent sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on our metabolic health.
For example, one study followed eleven healthy young men subjected to six nights of sleep deprivation with four hours of sleep, followed by a week of twelve hours of sleep per night. On the fifth day of each scenario, the participants did an oral glucose test to get a glimpse at how their metabolism reacted to a fixed amount of oral sugar.
The results? The participants exhibited signs of an impaired metabolism and insulin resistance during the sleep deprivation period. The rate of clearing sugar out of the bloodstream was 40% slower than when they were well-rested.
This relatively short six-night sleep deprivation period generated metabolic profiles in the otherwise healthy young men that resembled people with type 2 diabetes.
Another study followed healthy, normal-weight individuals who fell into categories of short sleepers and normal sleepers .
The short sleepers had to secrete 50% more insulin than normal sleepers to achieve similar glucose results, placing them at risk for developing insulin resistance in the long-term.
Insulin resistance, which acts as a brake on our bodys ability to burn fat for energy, also contributes to weight gain.
In pursuit of metabolic fitness, we want our insulin levels to be fairly low and stable. Sleep deprivation appears to make this very difficult.
The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with too much or too little sleep. Source: ADA
The Connection Between Lack Of Sleep And Diabetes
âThere is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state,â says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County.
According to Mahowald, the body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulinâs job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not properly use the insulin. When insulin is not doing its job, high blood sugar levels build in the body to the point where they can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
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Tips For A Better Night Sleep
Getting into a consistent sleep routine will improve your overall health and you may start to see subtle improvements in blood sugar as well. The following tips sleep tips may help to promote better sleep:
Check and monitor your blood glucose to keep it under control
Establish a regular bedtime routine
Ensure your bed is large and comfortable enough
Ensure your room is cool and well ventilated
Ensure your room is dark and free from noise
Incorporating a period of exercise into each day
To stay informed on more information regarding diabetes and sleep issues read an essay on diabetes and subscribe to our blog. And remember, you can always contact us here at The Alaska Sleep Clinic for any questions regarding how diabetes can affect your sleep at 855-AKSLEEP .
How Can People With Diabetes Cope With Sleep Issues
Careful management of blood sugar levels can help improve sleep for people with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, given the close relationship between diabetes and sleep, good sleep hygiene habits are particularly important. These include both daytime and nighttime habits, such as:
- Adhering to a diet plan that works for you and helps keep blood sugar controlled
- Getting regular exercise
- Keeping a regular sleep schedule
- Avoiding stimulants like caffeine or nicotine before bed
- Keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
Based on your personal situation, your doctor may be able to recommend sleep aids for diabetics or additional ways to get better sleep. They may choose to conduct a polysomnogram, or sleep study, to see if a sleep disorder is to blame for your sleep problems. Secondary sleep disorders can then be treated with targeted therapies such as a CPAP machine.
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Sugar And Insomnia Create A Vicious Cycle
Weve discussed the fact that sugar leads to poor quality of sleep. But it should also be noted that we tend to increase our sugar intake when we dont get enough rest.
A study conducted in 2018 revealed our penchant for eating more junk food when were tired. Shauna Lindzon, a registered dietitian from Toronto, spoke about this toReaders Digest. She said, A lack of sleep has been linked to our increasing hunger hormone ghrelin and our stress hormone cortisol, which are both associated with increasing our desire to eat unhealthy foods. In other words, Lindzon referred to what we probably know alreadythat when were tired, were more likely to reach for food or drinks that will give us a quick energy boost. And most of these choices contain high amounts of sugar. The problem? Sugar contributes to poor sleep.
So if poor sleep contributes to increased sugar intake, and increased sugar intake contributes to poor sleep, then it can become a frustrating cycle.
If you are someone who struggles with getting a good nights sleepor you simply want to improve the quality of your restwhat is the takeaway? How does this knowledge translate into sleeping better tonight? Is it possible to make a few simple tweaks that result in big improvements?
Yes! It is possible to implement a few small changes to your diet that could help you sleep better almost immediately.
Here are a few simple solutions:
What You Should Do
If you have been diagnosed with OSA as well as type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, it is imperative that you treat both conditions with the help of a knowledgeable medical professional.
Also understand that controlling your diabetes will not likely cure your OSA without separate treatment, while controlling your OSA will not likely cure your diabetes without further treatment. However, recognizing how the two conditions work hand-in-hand can help you and your doctor develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
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The High Sugar Poor Sleep Connection
Whether you are one of the many who have been told to eat many small meals a day or you are a grazer by habit and have trouble sleeping, let me walk you through the logic of how one affects the other. This will not apply to everybody read on for variations on the theme.
You eat every 2-3 hours all day . As a result, your body comes to expect getting fed every 2-3 hours, right? And then you go to bed at the end of the day and expect to sleep through the night for 8-9 hours with no food.
Why Sleep Is Equally Important In Your Type 2 Diabetes Management Plan
If youre an adult who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, skimping on zs can similarly be harmful.
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a stress that simmers in your system, which can lead to more tension and high blood pressure, says Sethu Reddy, MD, professor of medicine at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant and a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. That means if youre looking to help offset your risk for heart disease, which the CDC estimates is 2 times more likely to kill people with diabetes than people in the general population without diabetes, stress management is key. High blood pressure and heart disease are linked, according to the American Heart Association.
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Replace Sugary Treats With Snacks High In Fiber
Fiber has been proven to improve deep, slow-wave sleep by slowing digestion and avoiding the blood sugar spikes that accompany sweet treats. So if we add fiber to our evening eating, it can help us feel more full and prepare us for a good nights rest.
Bottom line: You have options to overcome sugars scary effects on your sleep. By making a few simple but determined tweaks to what you eat during the day, you can improve your sleep immediately. By keeping an eye on how late in the day we consume sugar, avoiding too much sugar right before bed, and going to bed at the same time each evening, we can help avoid the intense spike in our blood sugar that affects our sleep.
Youve got this! And sweet dreams!
What Happens When Youre Not Sleeping
If youre getting fewer hours of sleep than your body requires, not slipping into deep restorative sleep, or sleeping on an irregular schedule, a set of hormonal responses kick in. How many hours you need varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep.
These are your bodys attempt to ensure you have enough energy to function despite the lack of rejuvenating rest. But its like connecting to a weak Wi-Fi signal youre not going to be operating at optimum levels.
The unfortunate part about poor sleep and type 1 diabetes is that its cyclical. A day of out of range blood sugar levels, high or low, will lead to interrupted sleep. Needing to wake up for a level check, to treat a low, or to go to the bathroom because elevated blood glucose numbers kicks us out of our sleep cycles.
Additionally, research done by the University of São Paulo suggests that when blood sugar levels are above an average of 8.6 mmol/L154 mg/dL, your body produces less melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
Based on our bodies relationship to daylight , our deepest sleep tends to be around two to four a.m., so even if we do get a proper number of sleep hours total, we are unlikely to have fallen into the most restful cycles of sleep with so many interruptions.
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How Does Insufficient Sleep Affect Blood Sugar Levels And Vice Versa
Sleep can simultaneously boost and drop glucose levels, which may seem counterintuitive. Every day, our bodies go through a pattern of changes known as the circadian rhythm, which gradually boosts blood sugar levels at night and while we rest. These regular blood sugar spikes are nothing to be concerned about.
Blood sugar levels can affect sleep quality, just the same as sleep affects blood sugar levels. Sleep and type 2 diabetes dont really go well together. As per a study, patients with type 2 diabetes who had high blood sugar levels slept poorly. Another study indicated that 62 percent of people with glucose concentrations in the pre-diabetes category, compared to 46 percent of people with healthy glucose levels, are more prone to poor sleep.
Restorative sleep may indeed assist in reducing dangerous blood sugar levels by preserving healthy mechanisms. A lack of sleep has been connected to high levels of sugar. Even a single night of insufficient sleep increases insulin resistance, which can lead to blood sugar spikes. As a result, insomnia has been related to sleep and diabetes, a kind of blood sugar disorder.
Sleep deprivation is linked to a change in hormonal levels, affecting your intake of food and obesity. If you have diabetes, you are caught in a vicious circle. Its normal to compensate for sleep deprivation by overeating in an attempt to gain strength through calories.
First Comes Stress Then Come Cravings
Sleep disorders affect an estimated 50-70 million Americans and, as I discussed in my last newsletter, much of this is caused by stress and exhaustion. When under stress, the adrenals go shopping for energy. Their favorite stop is the pancreas, where stress generates insatiable cravings for sweets to create the energy the adrenals can no longer provide.
Before you know it, Americans are waking up to a sugar-laced cup of coffee or two. In an attempt to pick the healthy choice, we might sip green tea to keep us going through the morning. Lunch might be a salad and a diet soda. Then, as the blood sugar starts plummeting, bringing on the all-too-well-known afternoon crash, dark chocolate is passed around the office as if you had called room service. By the end of the workday, either a workout, latte or a nap is the only thing getting us home without falling asleep.
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Can Lack Of Sleep Affect Fasting Blood Sugar Topic Guide
- Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition in which the body produces too much urine. There are two main forms of diabetes insipidus: Central diabetes insipidus and Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is not the same as diabetes mellitus or diabetes.
Functioning On Sleep Deprivation
When our bodies try to function on less sleep, stress hormones, like cortisol, increase, and our systems start craving quick sources of high-carb, high-sugar fuel, even though they wont keep us energized for long. Because of the shift in stress hormones, we are also likely to experience insulin resistance in the day, or days, following a bad night of sleep.
So, what happens next? More out of range blood sugars due to our cravings and insulin resistance, so the cycle begins again. And this is, of course, without any added issues of insomnia, anxiety, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and other sleep disorders and mental health disruptors that can impact people living with T1D more intensely.
While an off night here and there can be recovered from, chronic disrupted sleep can lead to poorer health outcomes. In a 2016 study, Sarah S. Farabi reported that adults with type 1 diabetes who slept less than 6.5 hours per night, or spent less time in slow-wave sleep , had higher A1C levels than those who experienced healthy sleep amounts and patterns. Understandably, this can lead to added stress and anxiety over our diabetes management and health, continuing the unhelpful cycle.
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Tips To Get More Zzzs
Sleep quality is as important as how many hours you get. Signs you arent getting good sleep may include:
- Not feeling rested even after sleeping enough hours.
- Repeatedly waking up during the night.
- Having symptoms of sleep disorders .
Its common to stay up late and get up early during the week, then sleep in on the weekend. You may hope to catch up on the hours you missed, but your brain cant use these added hours.
One of the best things you can do is to wake up and go to bed at around the same time every day, even on weekends, making sure you get enough quality sleep consistently. These tips can help:
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, relaxing, and cool. Experts recommend a temperature of 65 degrees for your best rest.
- Remove electronic devices such as TVs, computers, and smartphones from the bedroom.
- Get some physical activity during the day.
- Mentally unwind and relax before bedtime.
- Have a routine that gets you ready for bed, like taking a shower, reading, or writing in a journal.
- Get in bed only when youre tired.
And here are a few things to avoid:
- Afternoon and evening caffeine. It can affect your body for up to 8 hours.
- Alcohol in the evening. It can affect how you breathe when you sleep. It can also wake you up and affect your sleep quality.
- Large meals late at night. Eating late can cause indigestion and higher blood sugar levels overnight.
- Naps after 3 p.m. This can make you less tired when its time for bed.
- Nicotine. It acts like caffeine.